Blogiversary #3! A to Z survey

Today,
Words And Peace celebrates
its 3rd blogiversary!

I thought it would be cool to do something a bit different to celebrate this day, after the stats I gave you a few hours ago. Did you check?

So here are my answers to the A to Z survey, created I believe last month by  The Perpetual Page-Turner:

[click on the logo to join the fun!, and click on the book covers to access my reviews]

A to Z survey

Author you’ve read [no: devoured!] the most books from:

Ellis Peters, with her Cadfael Chronicles – 21 books.
But alas, that was before my Book Blogging Era!

Best Sequel Ever:

same as above!

Currently Reading:

7 actually.
But here is the one I started most recently,
by a great French historical novelist:

The Strangled Queen

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Relaxing tea, as I do most of my reading after 6:30 pm

E-reader or Physical Book?

Both, with an increasing number of ebooks,
simply because it is easier to get free egalleys these days than ARCs.
And oh, audiobooks too!

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Me? Dating in high school? Too busy reading and studying!

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Syncopationgreat historical fiction on Victor Hugo’s daughter

Hidden Gem Book:

Chronicle of the Mount Buildea fascinating historical novels on Native Americans

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

September 29, 2010,
when I first posted on this book blob

Just Finished:

The Greenland Breach

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

Horror

Longest Book You’ve Read:

A long time ago: Les Misérables, 1,463 pages
More recently, reviewed on this blog: 1Q84, by Murakami [925 pages]

Major book hangover because of:

Consolations of the Forest

Number of Bookcases You Own:

Only 6, lol.
Most of the books I read come actually from my Public Library – or egalleys!

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Le rêve [The Dream], by Emile Zola

Preferred Place To Read:

On our tiny porch, with bird songs in the background

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

I felt that to be happy, I needed nothing more than the library.
[In Casanova, not read, but quoted in Consolations of the Forest, see above, p.85]

Reading Regret:

Not being able to finish In Search of Lost Time this year,
will have to go on next year.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

The series on Mrs. Pollifax, by Dorothy Gilman

Three of your All-Time [too tough, let’s say this year] Favorite Books:

still tough, and I won’t repeat titles already mentioned above, so let’s say:

The Lavender Garden, by Lucinda Riley
The Painted Girls, by Cathy Marie Buchanan
The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Barbara KingsolverBarbara Kingsolver

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

TreacheryGiordano Bruno #4!,
I have to wait until February 2014

Worst Bookish Habit:

Always want to talk books with others!
Talking hairdo, clothes, TV which I don’t have, fashion, sports, et
makes me want to flee miles away

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses

Your latest book purchase:

blindness

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

hmmm, which does NOT?? But let’s say:

The Bones of Paris

I hope you enjoyed this survey.
Which of the books I mentioned
is your favorite?

Come back later in the day
to see if you won my blogiversary giveaway!

 

Book Blogger Hop: September 20th – 26th

book blogger hop

What is your favorite genre?
List two of your favorite books in that genre

 

My favorite genre has become historical fiction

Click on the book cover to access the review of my 2 latest favorite historical novels:

Painted Girls  Chronicle of the Mount Builde

You want to join the fun of this weekly hop?
Click on the top banner

I love France #45: Book review: The Painted Girls

I LOVE FRANCE!

I plan to publish this meme every Thursday.

You can share here about any book

or anything cultural you just discovered related to France, Paris, etc.

Please spread the news on Twitter, Facebook, etc !

Feel free to grab my button,

and link your own post through Mister Linky,

at the bottom of this post.

*******

The Painted Girls

by

Cathy Marie BUCHANAN

Narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Julia Whelan, Danny Cambell

12:15 hours

Painted Girls Painted Girls audio

Audiobook published by Blackstone Audio in January 2013
Audiobook received via Audiobook Jukebox

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

     Books on France    hf-reading-challenge-2013

New Authors 2013 2013 Audio Book Challenge

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

Rating system

Wow, I can finally have nice fireworks around my Eiffel Tower for this amazing book!

The quality of the writing is excellent – I just read an interview of the author where she mentions her appreciation of Barbara Kingsolver’s writing: no wonder, both have good good writing, not one word too much, very well chosen vocabulary and expressions.

Not surprisingly seeing the topic and milieu of the book, it felt actually like reading a modern Zola! The Painted Girls is so good at describing the social milieu of these young women, their struggles to pay the monthly rent, to bring food on the table, to relate to their heavily drinking mother; but also the beauty and hopes brought to them by the world of the arts, especially dancing at the Opéra de Paris and playing in l’Assommoir, precisely by Zola.

What else did I like so much about this book?

  • the way the author had the idea of connecting our young heroines with 2 famous robbers and murderers of the time (Emile Abadie and Michel Knobloch); we don’t know for sure that they knew each other, but as they all figure in Degas’s paintings, and were living in the same area of Paris, the idea is definitely not farfetched
  • the idea of retracing the biography of Marie van Goethem, model for a very famous statuette by Degas and many of  his paintings
  • the inclusion of newspapers articles of the time, on the 2 criminals, on painting exhibitions, and on views of the time on physiognomy (Figaro newspaper)
  • the evolution of each character, and the mutual love of the sisters; and I am not giving to reveal anything here, but things do not turn out as they seem they would for each of the 3 girls
  • all the descriptions of the ambiance and competition in the world of dance. The author’s own experience is a great enrichment here
  • the integration of ideas of physiognomy, both for the young dancer Marie and the 2 murderers
  • the ending

We have here a historical novel as I really like them, so rich in the background study of the time: conditions of work and daily life for one milieu; all beautifully integrated in a story that flows and carries you back then, in the Paris of the end of the 19th century, with its artists and its miseries. No, this was not really a Belle Époque for everyone; but if you love Zola, Paris and that particular period, this is definitely the nicest book to read! Highly highly recommended.

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE AUDIO PRODUCTION

My first reaction, with the 1st line of the book, was: oh no!! As the narrator said right away “mon- ssieurr leblank”. Alas, Monsieur is pronounced [meussieu], no sound [on], as strange as that may be, and definitely no final r.  And Leblanc is pronounced [leublan], no fincal c pronounced, please.
Later, when the male narrator read the passages of le Figaro, I actually had to look at a printed copy if these were really excerpts from “LE Figaro”, as the narrator keeps saying [la] instead of [leu].
I again and again repeat (do publishers who graciously send me these audiobooks and their narrators ever read my reviews??) that this is absolutely unacceptable to have PROFESSIONAL narrators do that type of mistakes. Seriously, just even use a 101 video on YouTube on French pronunciation, and you would know how to pronounce LE! It is free and lasts only a couple of minutes.
Fortunately the narrator Cassandra Campbell was much better in her pronunciation of French words. Which incidentally showed me that narrators recorded their voices separately and did not listen to the way the other ones were saying words. A team work would have been very beneficial here.
But apart from that, they really all do a fantastic job in their tone of voice, in expressing the despair and hopes of the girls; the despising remarks of  those who boss over them, one way or another; I also liked the dreamy voice used for Degas.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

A gripping novel set in Belle Époque Paris and inspired by the real-life model for Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and a notorious criminal trial of the era.

Paris. 1878. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventy francs a month, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work—and the love of a dangerous young man—as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.

Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modelling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. Antoinette, meanwhile, descends lower and lower in society, and must make the choice between a life of honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde—that is, unless her love affair derails her completely.

Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.” [Goodreads]

Be sure to visit the author’s website, for extra fantastic material:

  • Degas’s artworks mentioned in the novel
  • Where you can actually see the famous statuette of  Little Dancer Aged Fourteen today
  • The author’s research trip to Paris
  • Her inspiration behind this book
  • A Q&A with the author
  • A Reading Guide

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cathy Marie Buchanan

CATHY MARIE BUCHANAN is the author of The Painted Girls, a novel set in belle époque Paris and inspired by the real-life model for Degas’s Little Dancer Aged 14 (forthcoming January 2013).
Her debut novel, The Day the Falls Stood Still, was a New York Times bestseller, a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection, a Barnes & Noble Best of 2009 book, an American Booksellers Association IndieNext pick and a Canada Reads Top 40 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade.
Her stories have appeared in many of Canada’s most respected literary journals, and she has received awards from both the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council.
She holds a BSc (Honours Biochemistry) and an MBA from Western University. Born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario, she now resides in Toronto.

REVIEWS BY OTHER BLOGGERS

Bonjour Paris has a great interview of the author!
Under My Apple Tree
Lit And Life
Devourer of Books

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE NOVEL WITH DANCERS ?

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE

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Just a reminder guys:

If you link your own post on France,

please if possible

include the title of the book or topic in your link:

name of your blog (name of the book title or topic):

example : me @ myblog (Camus)

Thanks!